Updated: Mar 14
How often do you wake up to pee at night? People do not need to wake up during the night to urinate and it is normal for us to have uninterrupted sleep for between 6 to 8 hours. If you find yourself waking up at night to pee, you might be suffering from nocturia.
How common is it?
Studies and surveys have found that 69% of men and 76% of women over age 40 report getting up to go to the bathroom at least once per night. About one-third of adults over age 30 make two or more nightly bathroom trips. Nocturia can affect younger people, but it becomes more common with age, especially in older men.
What causes nocturia?
There are many possible causes of nocturia, depending on the type. The types of nocturia include:
Nocturnal urinary frequency.
People with polyuria urinate >3,000mL in 24 hours. This is usually caused by there being too much water filtered by the kidneys. It can also happen if something is in the urine, pulling the extra water out, such as sugar (glucose).
The causes of polyuria can include:
High fluid intake.
Untreated diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2).
Diabetes insipidus, gestational diabetes (occurs during pregnancy).
Those with nocturnal polyuria experience a high urine volume only at night. Their urine volume during the day is normal or reduced. This is usually due to fluid retention during the day that often accumulated in the feet or legs. Once you lie down to sleep, gravity no longer holds the fluid in your legs. It can re-enter your veins and be filtered by your kidneys, producing urine.
The causes of nocturnal polyuria can include:
Congestive heart failure.
Edema of lower extremities (swelling of the legs).
Sleeping disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (breathing is interrupted or stops many times during sleep).
Certain drugs, including diuretics (water pills), cardiac glycosides, demeclocycline, lithium, methoxyflurane, phenytoin, propoxyphene, and excessive vitamin D.
Drinking too much fluid before bedtime, especially coffee, caffeinated beverages or alcohol.
Having a diet that’s high in sodium.
Nocturnal urinary frequency
If you have nocturnal urinary frequency, you may urinate in small amounts or urinate more frequently. The total amount of urine produced is not elevated. This is usually due to an inability of the bladder to fully empty (this is why it fills up faster) or the inability of the bladder to fill completely before developing the urge to urinate (low bladder volume). This can also occur due to difficulty sleeping — you may wake up for one reason, but then go to the bathroom while you’re awake, which will make you think that you woke up because you had to urinate.
The causes of an inability to fully empty your bladder can include:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (men), a non-cancerous overgrowth of the prostate that obstructs the flow of urine.
The causes of an inability of the bladder to fully fill can include:
Bladder overactivity (bladder spasms).
Bladder infection or recurrent urinary tract infection.
Bladder inflammation (swelling).
Interstitial cystitis (pain in the bladder).
Obstructive sleep apnea.
Am I suffering from nocturia?
People who have nocturia wake up more than once a night to urinate. This can cause disruptions in a normal sleep cycle. Symptoms of nocturia can include:
Waking up more than once a night to urinate.
Urinating more volume (if polyuria is present).
Fatigue, sleepiness — even after waking up. This occurs because the frequent urinations can interrupt your sleep cycle.
Is there a cure?
Until recently the answer is no. But recent research from Japan is suggesting that if patients were to take these three simple and easy steps as suggested in this NHK Gatten program, they will be able to reduce the number of times they wake up to pee at night and in some cases, they might even get back a whole night of uninterrupted sleep. Thank you NHK for making this program bi-lingual.
The steps are as simple as... (1) Wearing compression socks that are up to the knees.
(2) Consume less salt.
(3) Lay down with your feet elevated each day.
What if after doing all these I am still waking up at night?
If after you have followed the suggestions in the program and you are still waking up at night, do make an appointment with one of our therapists who can help improve the condition. Don't lose any more sleep on it, text 0184710020 for an appointment. And don't forget to engage in the discussion on nocturia with the experts in our 360 mental health support group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/360supportgroup #insomnia #nocturia Ref: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/4031005/